In our previous blog, The Technology behind Telecommuting, we discussed the functionality of a virtual private network (VPN) and its ability to connect remote employees to the corporate network. But what if you have remote office locations that need to be connected? A VPN isn’t the ideal tool for linking office locations together because it uses the public internet to operate, resulting in considerable slowdowns as each packet is encrypted.
Additionally, switching to an internet based VPN will force your business to use the local providers in each location, which can cause headaches when problems occur. A local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN) provides businesses with the capability to connect their offices across a variety of distances through a single provider.
What is a LAN?
A local area network (LAN) is one of the most widely deployed types of network. It supplies network capability to a group of computers, or associated devices, that are in close proximity to each other (for example, in an office building). By establishing this type of network connection, computers on it can share files, resources, and even an internet connection, if they desire.
A LAN can be either wireless or wired. If the LAN is wired, an Ethernet cable is required to physically connect each computer on the network. If it is wireless, radios are used to provide communication between each device on your company’s LAN. Wireless LANs (WLANs) can also be cheaper to install and maintain in comparison to Ethernet.
What is a WAN?
A wide area network (WAN) is a geographically dispersed network. It is not limited to a building or specific vicinity. The best example of a WAN is the Internet, although the Internet would be considered a public WAN, while companies typically use a private WAN to connect their offices. A private WAN is essentially two or more LANs connected to each other. For example, a company with LANs set up at each of their offices in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal can connect all three LANs with a WAN – therefore allowing all three LANS to communicate with each other.
A WAN connection can be established in a variety of ways, including the use of leased lines, circuit switch network, packet switching, frame or packet relay, and cell relays. The most common method is packet switching, which creates a digital network. However, many businesses that require a WAN use an Internet Service Provider (ISP) because they are easily able to provide a reliable, secure connection.
WAN and LAN connections provide businesses with the capability to centralize their data and resources, increasing productivity. Additionally, it allows for businesses to provide the most recent and up to date data, ensuring that all employees are working with the latest resources. It also establishes a secure connection between each office or branch location, allowing for the safe distribution of private company information.
To learn about TeraGo Network’s WAN technology, click here.
Blog Author: Vanessa Hartung